Best night vision binoculars and goggles 2022: we shed some light on the top choices

Our guide to the best night vision binoculars and goggles will see you right when it comes to nocturnal observation

Best night vision binoculars and goggles: Nightfox Cape Night Vision Goggles
(Image credit: Nightfox)

If you're looking to do a spot of nocturnal observation, a pair of the best night vision binoculars and goggles will see you right. While many of us want to be indoors in the warm when it gets dark, more intrepid souls look for observational opportunities that only the onset of dusk can deliver. Enter night vision binoculars and goggles.

The latter might be something we're perhaps more familiar seeing the army and special forces wearing in movies, while the former still feels like something from a sci-fi adventure. And yet, excitingly, there are consumer level versions available too, for those who want to spot otherwise skittish wildlife at night, or use for surveillance and security purposes.

They differ from today's best binoculars in that they're specifically geared towards use in low light. These devices work along the same principle of amplifying available light to provide an enhanced monochromatic image that's often green hued. Green having been chosen as a colour as our eyes are more sensitive to and capable of looking at for longer periods without getting tired. While we've focused on devices with two eyepieces here, some of today's best monoculars are also specialised for night viewing. Read on for some key features to look for, followed by our pick of the best night vision binoculars and goggles you can buy today. 

How to choose the best night vision binoculars and goggles for you

When it comes to choosing the best night vision binos and goggles for you, first decide on what you want them for, and then, having surveyed a broad range of options available, set your budget. Obviously price will vary dependent on the number of features and the degree of specification provided, including how much wear and tear they might be able to withstand.

Feature sets aside, practicality and portability are almost as important as performance. Are you comfortable with wearing a head set, which is what night goggles typically are, or would you prefer something to hand hold, in which case night vision binoculars may feel both more comfortable and more familiar?

Being hands free with a pair of night vision goggles does have its obvious advantages though, including being able to, with a turn of the head, look rapidly in multiple directions to track our visible quarry. As ever it's a case of horses for courses and whatever feels right for you.

Be aware that unlike regular binoculars, night vision devices require power, such as, typically, AA or AAA batteries. This adds to the weight, and also means that you need to make sure you have a ready supply with sufficient juice to see you through your period of observation. It's worth taking a look at those models that incorporate a power saving auto-cut off function during periods of inactivity, to save on wasted battery.

If you do really want the most lightweight option available, then also check out the available options for night vision monoculars. Comprising a single tube with a lens and an eyepiece, these tend to be more affordable too, if less commonplace overall. And if you're curious about the inner workings of it all, head to our guide to how exactly night vision goggles work.

The best night vision binoculars and goggles 2022

Solomark Night Vision BinocularsT3 Best Buy badge

(Image credit: Solomark)

1. Solomark Night Vision Binoculars

Best night vision binoculars for viewing range, in the night or day

Specifications

Magnification: 7x
Objective lens size: 50mm
Field of view at 1000m: not stated
Range: 1300ft/400 metres
Screen: 4"
Weight: not stated
Dimensions: not stated

Reasons to buy

+
Records both photos and videos
+
Impressive 400m range
+
AV cable plus micro USB lead provided

Reasons to avoid

-
All these varied features come at a price

The versatile Solomark Night Vision Binoculars are capable of providing a view even in complete darkness thanks to an infrared illuminator that allows viewing up to an impressive 1300ft/400 metres on a moonless night, and, more unusually, can be used in the daytime as well if wanted. Further talking points include its large 4-inch viewscreen, multi coated lenses, a more generous than most 7x magnification plus 2x digital zoom, 50mm objective lens size and integral 1/3-inch CMOS sensor. 

In short these night-vision binos would seem to have it all, including, unusually, a generous 32GB microSD card provided out of the box with the rest of the kit. Video is of HD quality 1280x720 pixels at 30fps, with photos basically video grabs, plus a supplied AV cable plus micro USB 2.0 cable provided for hooking up to a TV monitor or PC. Power comes courtesy of eight regular AA batteries (which you'll need to purchase separately, as usual) or you could plug the provided USB cable straight into a portable power bank for extra juice while in the great outdoors. In terms of protection for your kit when out in the wet and the wild, this Solomark device offers IPX4 grade water resistance, which translates as being suitable for use in the rain but not for fully submerging in water.

Bresser Digital NV binoculars 3x130T3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Bresser)

2. Bresser Digital NV binoculars 3x130

Best value option for budding night-time wildlife observers

Specifications

Magnification: 3x (plus 2x digital zoom)
Objective lens size: not stated
Field of view at 1000m: not stated
Range: 130m
Angle of view: 10°
Weight: 429g
Dimensions: 195 x 143 x 48mm

Reasons to buy

+
Very affordable starter option
+
Decent quality build from trusted brand
+
Very useful 130m viewing range

Reasons to avoid

-
Resembles Darth Vader's handbag
-
Needs 4 AA batteries for power

Resembling a standard pair of binoculars with extra 'webbing', this hand held option from respected German brand Bresser may be relatively modest in terms of specification, but this also makes it very affordable for newcomers to nighttime observation. Here we get a 3x magnification, which can be further boosted 2x digitally, married to a standard resolution 640x480 sensor with 320x240 LCD. Maximum detection range is up to a very useful 130 metres, while there are five adjustable infrared brightness levels, plus a large hooded screen for comfortable viewing with both eyes, and even when wearing glasses. 

A carry strap and bag are also usefully included in the box with the item. OK, so its black rubberized exterior may resemble Darth Vader's handbag to some; but in the dark, no one can see us, right? You just need to remember to pack the four AA rechargeable batteries it requires for power – battery life is up to an 'OK if hardly remarkable' five hours – and an SD card if you want to actually record any images. In short though, this is a great value option that ticks most boxes and will suit those who want to try out night vision for themselves without breaking the bank in the process.

Bresser Night Vision BinocularsT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Bresser)

3. Bresser Digital Night Vision Binoculars 1x with head mount

The best high-end Night Vision Binoculars

Specifications

Magnification: 1x (plus 2x digital zoom)
Objective lens size: not stated
Field of view at 1000m: 570m
Range: 70m
Angle of view: 10°
Weight: 413g
Dimensions: 165 x 66 x 14mm

Reasons to buy

+
Head strap included for hands-free operation

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than standard featured models
-
A helmet mounted option may be a less clunky hands free solution

This robustly rubber-armoured, weather-resistant option may look bulky, but in fact weighs a manageable 413g; just as well, because a head strap is included so you can go 'hands free' operationally if desired. Alternatively there is a padded shoulder strap in the box. The key specification here includes a 1x magnification with 2x digital zoom booster if required, while the built-in 7-step infrared capability is such that it can illuminate a subject in complete darkness from as far as 70 metres away. 

A hooded view screen and large display makes things comfortable for spectacle wearers in providing relaxed observation using both eyes, while there is a micro USB interface provided for recharging the 5V rechargeable battery that's capable of delivering up to eight hours of operation. Perfect for chilly winter evenings spent out in the wild in complete darkness, there is simple control layout with large buttons, all designed to facilitate use as well as aiding those who may be wearing gloves.

GeowFii Mini Night Vision GogglesT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: GeowFii)

4. GeowFii Mini Night Vision Goggles

Convenient palm-sized night-time viewing device

Specifications

Magnification: 8x
Objective lens size: 25mm
Field of view at 1000m: Not stated
Range: 984ft
Screen: 2.4-inch
Weight: 226g
Dimensions: 113 x 86.5 x 51.6mm

Reasons to buy

+
Good for day- and night-time viewing
+
Compact and portable design
+
Affordable price

Reasons to avoid

-
Plastic-y feel and construction
-
Small-ish LCD screen

Looking for a pair of night vision binoculars almost half the size of most alternatives on the market, in order to spot skittish creatures from afar? This compact palm-sized, lightweight pair allow for convenient one-handed use in complete darkness, while also standing out from the competition in offering a daytime mode for around-the-clock observation.

A built-in rechargeable battery claiming up to 10 hours of working time can be charged in the car or via a portable power bank, and avoids the need for the added weight and expense of a handful of AAs. The core features of the GeowFii Mini include infrared vision, a 1.3 megapixel CMOS sensor at its heart, coupled with a 25mm objective lens. You also get Full HD video with audio capture, and/or 12MP still images, plus the choice of a 4x or 8x digital zoom to bring the action closer, with a small-ish 2.4-inch high definition screen provided to view it all on. Also handily included is a 32GB microSD card to save all the action witnessed.

An alternative comes in the shape of a monocular device available from the same manufacturer with largely the same core features, should that method of night-time observation find personal favour. Either way, this option won’t break the bank for anyone looking to have a go at seeking out subjects in the dark at an affordable, almost pocket money price.

Nightfox Cape Night Vision GogglesT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Nightfox)

5. Nightfox Cape Night Vision Goggles

The best for night vision goggles for covert observation

Specifications

Magnification: 1x
Objective lens size: 50mm
Field of view at 1000m: not stated
Range: 55 yards
Screen: 4"
Weight: not stated
Dimensions: 247 x 240 x 83mm

Reasons to buy

+
Can be helmet mounted
+
One-touch recording onto microSD card
+
Infrared lets you move about unseen

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly reduced viewing range

This 'fox' is a cunningly sleek device offering a respectable 50 metres range and the ability to record video clips. A bonus that sets it apart from most is that it additionally offers a GoPro-compatible mounting bracket, meaning that this pair of night vision goggles can be helmet mounted if so desired for hand-free operation. Offering 1x magnification, a decision taken because its manufacturer suggests that when using night vision on the move, the best magnification is no magnification at all – though a 2x digital zoom function is offered if the user doesn't agree – included also is an infrared LED with reduced visible glow, thereby allowing the wearer to roam unseen. Unfortunately there is something of a trade-off here, as the reduced glow results in a reduced viewing range of the 50 metres quoted. 

Keeping things simple and operation speedy, one-touch recording onto microSD card, which here is an optional extra, is offered, as is one-button adjustment of screen brightness to save us having to scroll through menus when you want to be concentrating on whatever you're observing instead. A widescreen display for viewing with both eyes is also provided. Power comes courtesy of four AA batteries. Again, as with the required memory card, these are an additional purchase.

Bresser Digital Night Vision Binocular 3xT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Bresser)

6. Bresser Digital Night Vision Binocular 3x

The night vision binoculars Darth Vader might choose

Specifications

Magnification: 3x
Objective lens size: not stated
Field of view at 1000m: 150 metres
Range: 120 metres
Screen: not stated
Weight: 335g
Dimensions: 165 x 66 x 140mm

Reasons to buy

+
Rubber armoured construction
+
Large eyepiece affords comfortable viewing
+
Can be attached to a power bank

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulky, if reassuringly lightweight with it
-
Modest 3x magnification

Resembling something from a sci-fi movie, this chunky pair of night vision binos from German brand Bresser arrives with the reassurance of 60 years of heritage, a 3x magnification and the ability to boost this with a 2x digital zoom. It therefore ticks most of the boxes for what anyone would want when attempting night-time observation, while keeping operation simple and pared back to the essentials. 

With rubber armouring offering a degree of resilience and adding a firm grip, plus a big wraparound eyepiece making it suited to spectacle wearers, its seven-step infrared operation can illuminate a subject even in total darkness at a range of 120 metres. Of course, there’s the possibility to view even further than this if low light conditions allow. Alternatively, the closest focus possible is just one metre from the product.

The handheld Bresser Digital Night Vision Binocular 3x also finds room for a microSD card slot via which to store any video recordings made or still images captured, and a 5V rechargeable battery that can last for up 8 hours of use, while weighing a manageable 335g overall. Charging is via a supplied USB cable, which can theoretically be hooked up to a portable power bank when out in the field to enable additional hours of use, while you also get a padded shoulder strap for comfort when using the night vision binos out and about, while a separate attachment can be sourced should any user want to hear it on their head. A reassuringly versatile choice.

Bushnell 2x40 Equinox Z Night Vision BinocularT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Bushnell)

7. Bushnell 2x40 Equinox Z Night Vision Binocular

Best night vision binoculars for day or night use

Specifications

Magnification: 2x
Objective lens size: 40mm
Field of view at 1000m: Not given
Range: 55 yards
Screen: 4"
Weight: 1kg
Dimensions: 22.9x20.3x10.2cm

Reasons to buy

+
Suitable for daytime and nighttime use
+
Similar to standard binos, so more familiar in use

Reasons to avoid

-
Comparatively weighty at 1kg

Bushnell is one of those solid consumer brands that matches reliability and performance with decent value for money. Its current offering for those seeking a pair of digital night vision binoculars is no exception, which in this case weds a 2x magnification to a 40mm glass objective lens. As expected, the build here is both rugged and water resistant, while the binoculars themselves can be utilised for both day and night operation. Sailing and not just night time wildlife watching is suggested as one of their possible uses, for example. Also included is an infrared spotlight, described as powerful enough to deliver its 55 yard range. It's not just all about the viewing however, as image capture and video recording are part and parcel of the package too. In short, you get just about everything you need from a device that is relatively familiar to use from the get-go.

Nightfox Corsac Night Vision GogglesT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Nightfox)

8. Nightfox Corsac Night Vision Goggles

Great-value night-vision goggles with plenty of features

Specifications

Magnification: 3x
Objective lens size: 25mm
Field of view at 1000m: not stated
Range: 180 metres
Screen: not stated
Weight: 652g
Dimensions: 184 x 152 x 63mm

Reasons to buy

+
Full HD night vision camera sensor
+
Polycarbonate, water resistant construction
+
Reasonably priced

Reasons to avoid

-
Batteries not included
-
No helmet mount

Constructed from polycarbonate, the water resistant Nightfox Corsac digital night vision binocular offers a viewing range of 200 yards plus, 3x magnification and a Full HD sensor. In fact, this model, which surely missed a trick in not calling itself ‘Crosshair’, combines an HD infrared sensor with an infrared LED for delivering what it claims is a crystal clear image at night. Plus, if there is sufficient ambient light, a viewing range greater than the quoted 200 yards is possible.

And there’s no need to store those one-in-a-lifetime observations in our personal memory bank either. As with competing options, this one comes supplied with a bundled 32GB capacity memory card for recording video footage of whatever we’re viewing. Still photos are also possible.

This latest generation Nightfox model comes with a new improved eyepiece with a wraparound design to minimise light escaping around the edges while delivering a degree of comfort.

Rather than providing a rechargeable lithium ion battery, six AAs optional are required for up to three hours of continuous use, which you’ll need to purchase separately before you can use the device. A removable battery magazine is provided at the base of the device for relatively easy access. To avoid burning through cells at a rate of knots, the manufacturer advises disabling the infrared LED, which also means there is no potentially distracting red glow emitted. Fortunately a USB cable is provided for hooking the product up to our PC or Mac. A ‘fox’ with plenty of cunning features.

Gavin Stoker has been writing about photography and technology for the past 20 years. He currently edits the trade magazine British Photographic Industry News - BPI News for short - which is a member of TIPA, the international Technical Imaging Press Association.